Saturday, December 19, 2009

Secret Project: Revealed!

Now that her plane is in the air, I can reveal the secret knitting project recipient is my mother! I'll be giving it to her today, and since she won't see the blog before she sees the object, it's time for the big reveal!

When I went yarn shopping way back on July 3rd, I was pretty sure I was going for sock yarn. I hadn't bought any really nice yarn in a while, and I wanted to start another pair of socks, and it seemed meant to be. And I did, in fact, buy sock yarn:

But I also fell prey to a common knitter's situation in a yarn store. I touched something lovely, knew who it was for, and had to buy it.

It followed me home. Can I keep it?

Misti Alpaca, Hand Paint Lace. The colors are hard to capture, being an exceedingly subtle blend of beige and pale peach and soft pale purple and light seagrass green. In poor lighting, it looks merely beige, but in good light, ahh. Mum, it said to me. Something lacy, it said. I couldn't put it down.

The drawback was that I couldn't blog about it without giving it away, and I wanted it to be a surprise. Since Mum is my first and most loyal reader here, that meant blog silence for the project. I couldn't show you the pretty yarn, and I couldn't discuss pattern possibilities. I did decide to write this post, this after-bestowal post, starting in July, so that I can capture some of the process.

So today is July 17th. Over the last week, I've taken lace books and shawl books out of the library, and I've gone round and round Ravelry, trying to find the vague idea I had in my head:
  • something lacy
  • not too complicated (I haven't done much lace knitting)
  • not triangular (nothing against them, I just wasn't feeling the love for the pointy in this case)
It seemed that I had a clearer idea of what I didn't want than what I did, or at any rate I knew it when I saw it. Eventually, though, Ravelry came to the rescue. I chose the Meandering Vines Shawl (Ravelry link). It looked pretty, and others said it was simple, and it fit the type and amount of yarn. I even had the suggested needle size (I'm starting, at any rate, with a US 9 circular).

So tonight, I wound the yarn, and by the way lace-weight takes quite a while to skein, compared even to sock weight yarn, doesn't it? And I cast on. I'm using stitch markers to keep my place between the repeats, but it seems like it's going to be very easy to keep track of. And although I have heard lace knitting before it's blocked compared to either a wad of dental floss or a hunk of uncooked ramen noodles, I think it's rather pretty so far. Early days, of course, six rows in, but so far, so good.


Saturday, July 25th. I'm just over a week in, and still love it. I've finished three pattern repeats, and it looks like this:

It will be even prettier when it's blocked; I can hardly wait.

One thing occurred to me earlier, given how light-weight it is, and I tested the wedding ring theory (with my great-grandmother's wedding ring). It fits.

August 19th. I've been working away at the shawl, enjoying it immensely, and today I finished the first half (with this pattern, you make the first half, put it aside and make the second half, then graft them together). I wanted to finish it and cast on for the second half before Saturday, so I can work on it while I'm on the plane, without worrying that the lovely already-done part would snag on something. Mission accomplished!

I haven't blocked it yet, and without stretching it out, it's 33 inches long. I think when I block, I will be more trying to widen it than lengthen, but I guess time will tell.

On to the second half!

It is October 14th, and I am full of the urge to call my mother and say to her, "Look what I did, I made a house."

My mother has on her wall a framed "painting" that I did in nursery school, which to the untutored eye looks like random squiggles. The teacher, however, was smart enough to write on the paper what I said to her when I finished, and that is what I want to say to my mother now, because the shawl is completely finished and it is lovely. I can't believe that I made this.

I slid the blocking wires out, and all the pointies remained pointy. I was sure it would be so, but that was still neat to see.

Here is how much yarn was left:

Lace-weight being what it is, that's more than it appears; I wasn't in danger. Still, it reinforces my feeling that I got my money's worth out of this yarn. It cost $23.99, and took me three months to knit, and I loved every minute of it. Go, Misti Alpaca!

This is before blocking. I laid it out dry to see the size. Each square is 2 feet by 2 feet.

And after wetting and pinning:

Longer and wider!

Harold supervises the drying process, sniff. (I put it in the office with the door closed shortly thereafter.)

Dry, unpinned, and still pointy!

December. Some people have referred to this as a Christmas present for my mother, but I never thought of it that way. It's a present, because I wanted to make something for her in a tough year. It was always going to be gifted the first time I saw her after it was done.

I had to restrain myself from bringing it to the airport with me when I picked her up.


  1. BEE-U-TEE-FUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  2. Gorgeous! You are justifiable in your delight and pride. Your mom would have adored it even before blocking. I hope she wears it lots and doesn't save it just for special!

  3. Wonderful job! I'm certain she's shed a tear or two over it.

    And with this snow, I'm certain she'll be using it on her visit. She made it in with no issues, right?

  4. It's a masterpiece. I can't wait to see it, and you-all, Wednesday.


    Aunt Drea

  5. What a beautiful, beautiful shawl! I'm sure your mom is going to love it.

  6. Well done! It's lovely and your Mom should love it and Harold's participation in the blocking.

  7. That is wonderful, beautiful work. And I love that Harold had a "paw" in the process. What a treat for your mom!

    (P.S. Hope you are over the throat thing; I had it, too. Yuck.)